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6 year old walking to school alone via a woodland track
327

Loveagingernut · 06/12/2021 22:17

I am looking for others views, maybe I’m being too protective and should be promoting independence.

Back story….
School walk via roads and pavements is over a mile long, however there is a short cut through woodland area where the track is just less than half a mile but it is classed as a forest. On the left of the forest is an industrial estate with approx 60 different businesses. Due to the nature of 80% of these businesses, they mainly employ men. On the right of the forest there is a residential area and the primary school.
The track is popular with dog walkers, teenagers going in the opposite direction to the secondary school use this short cut, and lots of men that walk or cycle to their employment in the industrial estate.

So this is my concern…..
A young mum, that I support, was walking her 6 year old daughter to school via the track, but I have found out that in the cold, winter, dark mornings, the child is now walking to school alone on this route. She doesn’t need to cross any roads so no safety issues there but am I being over protective thinking it’s not acceptable for a 6 year old taking this route on her own.

Mum isn’t taking her, because she has to be elsewhere for 9am and doesn’t have the time to take her daughter to school, thus allowing daughter to walk through the forest alone.

Am I being too protective or do I promote independence.

OP's posts:
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Spikeyball · 07/12/2021 11:40

"People talk about busy roads. Don't they have footpaths (sidewalks) and zebra crossings in the UK? The kids aren't actually walking in the road, are they?"

Some busy roads don't have pavements. The busy road between my village and the next has an off road footpath but it has bushes and trees each side of it and is bendy and considerably away from the road at some points. I don't like walking on it alone.
I don't think 6 year olds have developed enough spacial awareness to cross busy roads. They can't judge speed and distance well and even on a zebra crossing that skill is required. That ability won't come in for a couple of years.

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Dixiechickonhols · 07/12/2021 11:41

ClaudiaJ1 A child would usually need to cross side streets which have no zebra crossings. Studies have shown children under 10/11 can’t reliably judge speed of traffic.
Children walk on my estate to school from yr 4 or yr 5 but it’s across a parish field/playground no roads and is well used by all parents not isolated.
I walk dog sometimes in wooded area near industrial estate. I’d worry about child slipping and falling at 6 she won’t have a phone. Plus there will usually be condoms, broken glass, possibly drug paraphernalia like needles you wouldn’t want a child seeing or touching.

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GhoulWithADragonTattoo · 07/12/2021 11:44

I'd say 10 to walk alone. Maybe 9 with an older sibling if both sensible.

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GhoulWithADragonTattoo · 07/12/2021 11:47

Could you report to school for their assistance? You could explain your role to them too if not aware.

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MoonlightMedicine · 07/12/2021 11:53

@GhoulWithADragonTattoo

Could you report to school for their assistance? You could explain your role to them too if not aware.

That's what I'd do.
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Loveagingernut · 07/12/2021 12:07

Message deleted by MNHQ as the material included could be identifying. Here's a link to our Talk guidelines.

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SirVixofVixHall · 07/12/2021 12:11

I walked to and from school from about seven, usually with a friend, but not always. However it was A.The 1970s, few cars. B. A shortish walk, probably 15 minutes. And C. Along residential roads with plenty of people about.
Your opening post reads like something from a film OP, it has given me the horrors to think of that very little girl walking alone along the path.

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MorningStarling · 07/12/2021 12:16

To me it seems perfectly reasonable. The fact that the route is quite busy is a big positive, lots of people around means the child is safer. Also, most abuse is perpetrated by family or friends, so arguably the child is safer alone than if the parent is with them. A child on their own can approach strangers to report the abuse they receive in the home and ask for help, whereas a child with their parent obviously would have to keep quiet.

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SleepingStandingUp · 07/12/2021 12:20

Also, most abuse is perpetrated by family or friends, so arguably the child is safer alone than if the parent is with them. A child on their own can approach strangers to report the abuse they receive in the home and ask for help so presumably you're in favour of them being sent out alone from the age of about 3 on the off chance they're being abused at home??

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ArabellaScott · 07/12/2021 12:22

Precisely, SleepingStanding, thats a ridiculous conclusion to draw!

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SleepingStandingUp · 07/12/2021 12:25

People talk about busy roads. Don't they have footpaths (sidewalks) and zebra crossings in the UK? The kids aren't actually walking in the road, are they?
Two minor roads to cross with no formal crossing. One main road with traffic lights but you constantly have to listen out for fire brigade and ambulance who rightly can run the lights. There's then either another side road and traffic lights on the main road, or a crossing with a central island but no lights on that road. There's another minor road after the alleyway and at least two more minor roads depending on which way you go before trying to cut across the top of the road where everyone parks. Lots of opportunities for an infant pupil to misjudge time and speed, lose concentration etc

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Lockdownbear · 07/12/2021 12:27

Really the biggest risk is stranger attack which is actually quite unlikely esp on a busy path and lots of other people using it.

I'd think there is likely to be other kids (OK with parents walking it) it might be worth the mum asking if another parent could walk her through the path.

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Djmaggie · 07/12/2021 12:29

A 6 year old should literally never be going anywhere on their own!!

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Kennykenkencat · 07/12/2021 12:31

A child on their own can approach strangers to report the abuse they receive in the home and ask for help, whereas a child with their parent obviously would have to keep quiet

I am trying to work out who they would tell

Are you saying they would go up to one of the strangers they see who are on their way to work or maybe a group of random teens going to school.

Or would they talk to their teacher or someone at school when the parents aren’t around.

Children who are being abused probably don’t recognise they are being abused. They live their parents, they know it would have consequences if they say anything. They would be more likely to confide in a friend who would tell their parents or their teacher.

I very much doubt they would approach a random stranger

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CrumpledCrumpet · 07/12/2021 12:32

I know you’ve scrubbed out the school name from your picture OP but I think it’s potentially too identifying in the circumstances, it could easily be recognised by someone. I’ve reported the post.

Hope you have some success with the mum, it sounds like you are doing your best to support this little girl.

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SleepingStandingUp · 07/12/2021 12:34

Well this is good news. Tomorrow DS, 6, can walk himself to and from school and then make himself a cold snack and I'll pop in at 8 to send him to bed. Must remember to put his alarm on for 7 and he can get himself up and out on his own. Lie in for Mama. Bliss.

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SleepingStandingUp · 07/12/2021 12:34

I think that's ridiculously overprotective. Children that age are well old enough to walk to school alone, and if they have safe walking route to school they should be allowed to exercise that independence.
It's about more than that 20 minute walk though. If your 6 year old can walk themselves to school, what else are you leaving them to do? Are they waking up to an empty house, getting themselves dressed and out the house alone at 6? Are they coming into an empty house and feeding themselves and sitting alone all night?

If 6 is OK what about 5? What about 4? Genuinely, what's the minimum age where parents should be supervising their young kids?

If they can walk to school through woods and along busy roads alone, how long is it OK for them to be home alone?

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SleepingStandingUp · 07/12/2021 12:36

Are you saying they would go up to one of the strangers they see who are on their way to work or maybe a group of random teens going to school. yes, it's important 6 year olds have tien alone to approach random strangers to tell them they're being abused, because based on how many comments on these like these about "not your monkey, not your problem" we can totally rely on those strangers to ask the right questions appropriately, call the Police and then hang around to look after the kid. Happens every time I go to the park round here🙄😂😂

Or would they talk to their teacher or someone at school when the parents aren’t around.

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AnotherOneWithNoGoodName · 07/12/2021 12:37

@ClaudiaJ1

People talk about busy roads. Don't they have footpaths (sidewalks) and zebra crossings in the UK? The kids aren't actually walking in the road, are they?

We do, but as an example, I was once walking and had pressed the button at the crossing. Green man was on. However... I could hear a very fast approaching car, so I decided to wait to see. It overtook the cars stopped, sped right through the red light and carried on. As an adult, I could assess that risk. A child of 6 might not think further than green man= go and walk out in front of a speeding car, a fire engine or ambulance (a child of that age may not realise that they don't have to stop at a red light). They need adult guidance for a few more years.
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AnotherOneWithNoGoodName · 07/12/2021 12:38

@SleepingStandingUp

I think that's ridiculously overprotective. Children that age are well old enough to walk to school alone, and if they have safe walking route to school they should be allowed to exercise that independence.
It's about more than that 20 minute walk though. If your 6 year old can walk themselves to school, what else are you leaving them to do? Are they waking up to an empty house, getting themselves dressed and out the house alone at 6? Are they coming into an empty house and feeding themselves and sitting alone all night?

If 6 is OK what about 5? What about 4? Genuinely, what's the minimum age where parents should be supervising their young kids?

If they can walk to school through woods and along busy roads alone, how long is it OK for them to be home alone?

That poster was I replying to a comment about older children, I think. 9+, IIRC.
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AnotherOneWithNoGoodName · 07/12/2021 12:40

@MorningStarling

To me it seems perfectly reasonable. The fact that the route is quite busy is a big positive, lots of people around means the child is safer. Also, most abuse is perpetrated by family or friends, so arguably the child is safer alone than if the parent is with them. A child on their own can approach strangers to report the abuse they receive in the home and ask for help, whereas a child with their parent obviously would have to keep quiet.

Nothing about it is reasonable.
I was assaulted in public, with people around. Nobody did anything.
An abused child oftentimes don't know they are being abused.
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SleepingStandingUp · 07/12/2021 12:41

It’s not schools decision when children can walk/bike to school alone... it’s the parents decision.... but it is schools decision to call you every day to discuss it, to call social services etc. Also wonder where they'd stand refusing to release the child. We go to the classroom door and the teacher releases each child one by one to their adult
lots of children I know go to school on their own from year 3 onwards( key stage 2) ....it’s quite normal where I live ( only one quietly busy road to cross that has a lollipop lady) one busy road for everyone or just you? We only live a mile from school, no lollipop ladies

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SleepingStandingUp · 07/12/2021 12:43

@AnotherOneWithNoGoodName well the qn goes out to all those advocating in the mother's favour, apologies to the poster if I got their age limit wrong but plenty of people here think it's ok.

So how old is too young to walk themselves around?

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AnotherOneWithNoGoodName · 07/12/2021 13:09

[quote SleepingStandingUp]@AnotherOneWithNoGoodName well the qn goes out to all those advocating in the mother's favour, apologies to the poster if I got their age limit wrong but plenty of people here think it's ok.

So how old is too young to walk themselves around?[/quote]
I wouldn't say there is a definite upper age where it's OK. It depends on the child, the area, the circumstances and the parents level of comfort really.
For instance, I'd allow my own 5/6 year old to walk to a friends house a few houses down, with me stood at my own door watching them all the way. Some wouldn't. I wouldn't allow the child out of my line of sight at that age, though.
I've not seen many posts saying its OK, but I have only really skimmed the middle of the thread!

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AliveAndSleeping · 07/12/2021 13:09

Op you are a good person. Thanks for looking out for this little girl.

I used to walk to school age 6 on my own as did all my classmates. There was just one child who was accompanied by her mother every day and everyone thought that's odd and bad parenting. Yes, this was in a different country and a different time.

I wouldn't let my dc do it now but just wanted to explain why op might not have been 100% sure about this one. No need to give her a tough time about it.

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